Recent Reviews...

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Book Review: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (The Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

For the first time in a stand-alone paperback comes Stephenie Meyer's Life and Death, a compelling reimagining of the iconic love story that will surprise and enthrall readers.

There are two sides to every story....
You know Bella and Edward, now get to know Beau and Edythe.

When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.

What Beau doesn't realize is the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back....

With a foreword and afterword by Stephenie Meyer, this compelling reimagining of the iconic love story is a must-read for Twilight fans everywhere.

Twilight has enraptured millions of readers since its first publication in 2005 and has become a modern classic, redefining genres within young adult literature and inspiring a phenomenon that has had readers yearning for more. The novel was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a #1 USA Today bestseller, a Time magazine Best Young Adult Book of All-Time, an NPR Best Ever Teen Novel, and a New York Times Editor's Choice. The Twilight Saga, which also includes New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, has sold nearly 155 million copies worldwide.

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined By Stephenie Meyer is a retelling of Twilight where most of the characters genders have been reversed. Bella is Beau, Edward is Edythe, and so on. I have to say, I definitely prefer Bella as a female. Beau just wasn’t pulling off her personality, however Edythe is a pretty kick ass Edward. I really enjoyed the ending and the extra twists, including something about the Volturi. A very interesting little spin. The story as a whole though? I liked it well enough, I suppose, but... Nothing beats the original.

January 17, 2005

MY MOM DROVE ME TO THE AIRPORT WITH THE WINDOWS ROLLED DOWN. Though it was January everywhere else, it was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, and the sky was bright blue. I had on my favorite t-shirt—the Monty Python one with the swallows and the coconut that Mom got me two Christmases ago. It didn't quite fit anymore, but that didn't matter. I wouldn't be needing t-shirts again soon.

In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this insignificant town more than any other place in the United States of America. It was from this town and its depressing gloom that my mom escaped with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that I'd been forced to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen. That was the year I finally started making ultimatums; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead.

Yet somehow, I now found myself exiled to Forks for the rest of my high school education. A year and a half. Eighteen months. It felt like a prison sentence. Eighteen months, hard time. When I slammed the car door behind me, it made a sound like the clang of iron bars locking into place.

Okay, just a tad melodramatic there. I have an overactive imagination, as my mom was fond of telling me. And, of course, this was my choice. Self-imposed exile.

Didn't make it any easier.

I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the dry heat and the big, sprawling city. And I loved living with my mom, where I was needed.

"You don't have to do this," my mom said to me—the last of a hundred times—just before I got to the TSA post.

My mom says we look so much alike that I could use her for a shaving mirror. It's not entirely true, though I don't look much like my dad at all. Her chin is pointy and her lips full, which is not like me, but we do have exactly the same eyes. On her they're childlike—so wide and pale blue—which makes her look like my sister rather than my mom. We get that all the time and though she pretends not to, she loves it. On me the pale blue is less youthful and more . . . unresolved.

Staring at those wide, worried eyes so much like my own, I felt panicked. I'd been taking care of my mom for my whole life. I mean, I'm sure there must have been a time, probably when I was still in diapers, that I wasn't in charge of the bills and paperwork and cooking and general level-headedness, but I couldn't remember it.

Was leaving my mom to fend for herself really the right thing to do? It had seemed like it was, during the months I'd struggled toward this decision. But it felt all kinds of wrong now.

Of course she had Phil these days, so the bills would probably get paid on time, there would be food in the fridge, gas in the car, and someone to call when she got lost. . . . She didn't need me as much anymore.

"I want to go," I lied. I'd never been a good liar, but I'd been saying this lie so much lately that it almost sounded convincing now.

"Tell Charlie I said hi."

"I will."

"I'll see you soon," she promised. "You can come home whenever you want—I'll come right back as soon as you need me."

But I knew what it would cost her to do that.

"Don't worry about me," I insisted. "It'll be great. I love you, Mom."

She hugged me tightly for a minute, and then I walked through the metal detectors, and she was gone.

It's a three-hour flight from Phoenix to Seattle, another hour in a small plane up to Port Angeles, and then an hour drive back down to Forks. Flying's never bothered me; the hour in the car with Charlie, though, I was a little worried about.

Charlie had really been pretty decent about the whole thing. He seemed genuinely pleased that I was coming to live with him sort of permanently for the first time. He'd already gotten me registered for high school, and was going to help me get a car.

But it would be awkward. Neither of us was what you'd call extroverted—probably a necessary thing for living with my mother. But aside from that, what was there to say? It wasn't like I'd kept the way I felt about Forks a secret.

When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. It wasn't an omen, just inevitable. I'd said my goodbyes to the sun.

Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too. Charlie is Police Chief Swan to the good people of Forks. My primary motivation behind buying a car, despite my serious lack of funds, was that I hated driving around town in a car with red and blue lights on top. Nothing slows down traffic like a cop.

I stumbled off the plane into Charlie's awkward, one-armed hug.

"It's good to see you, Beau," he said, smiling as he automatically steadied me. We patted each other's shoulders, embarrassed, and then stepped back. "You haven't changed much. How's Renée?"

"Mom's great. It's good to see you, too, Dad." I wasn't supposed to call him Charlie to his face.

"You really feel okay about leaving her?"

We both understood that this question wasn't about my own personal happiness. It was about whether I was shirking my responsibility to look after her. This was the reason Charlie'd never fought Mom about custody; he knew she needed me.

"Yeah. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't sure."

"Fair enough."

I only had two big duffel bags. Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for the Washington climate. My mom and I had pooled our resources to supplement my winter wardrobe, but it still wasn't much. I could handle both of them, but Charlie insisted on taking one.

It threw my balance off a little—not that I was ever really balanced, especially since the growth spurt. My foot caught on the lip of the exit door and the bag swung out and hit the guy trying to get in.

"Oh, sorry."

The guy wasn't much older than me, and he was a lot shorter, but he stepped up to my chest with his chin raised high. I could see tattoos on both sides of his neck. A small woman with hair dyed solid black stared menacingly at me from his other side.

"Sorry?" she repeated, like my apology had been offensive somehow.

"Er, yeah?"

And then the woman noticed Charlie, who was in uniform. Charlie didn't even have to say anything. He just looked at the guy, who backed up a half-step and suddenly seemed a lot younger, and then the girl, whose sticky red lips settled into a pout. Without another word, they ducked around me and headed into the tiny terminal.

Charlie and I both shrugged at the same time. It was funny how we had some of the same mannerisms when we didn't spend much time together. Maybe it was genetic.

"I found a good car for you, really cheap," Charlie announced when we were strapped into the cruiser and on our way.

"What kind of car?" I asked, suspicious of the way he said "good car for you" as opposed to just "good car."

"Well, it's a truck actually, a Chevy."

"Where did you find it?"

"Do you remember Bonnie Black down at La Push?" La Push is the small Indian reservation on the nearby coastline.


"She and her husband used to go fishing with us during the summer," Charlie prompted.

That would explain why I didn't remember her. I do a good job of blocking painful things from my memory.

"She's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond, "so she can't drive anymore, and she offered to sell me her truck cheap."

"What year is it?" I could see from the change in his expression that this was the question he was hoping I wouldn't ask.

"Well, Bonnie's had a lot of work done on the engine—it's only a few years old, really."

Did he think I would give up that easily?

"When did she buy it?"

"She bought it in 1984, I think."

"Did she buy it new?"

"Well, no. I think it was new in the early sixties—or late fifties at the earliest," he admitted sheepishly.

"Ch—Dad, I don't really know anything about cars. I wouldn't be able to fix anything that broke, and I couldn't afford a mechanic. . . ."

"Really, Beau, the thing runs great. They don't build them like that anymore."

The thing, I thought to myself . . . it had possibilities—as a nickname, at the very least.

"How cheap is cheap?" After all, that part was the deal killer.

"Well, son, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift." Charlie glanced sideways at me with a hopeful expression.

Wow. Free.

"You didn't need to do that, Dad. I was going to buy myself a car."

"I don't mind. I want you to be happy here." He was looking ahead at the road when he said this. Charlie had never been comfortable with expressing his emotions out loud. Another thing we had in common. So I was looking straight ahead as I responded.

"That's amazing, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it." No need to add that he was talking about impossibilities. Wouldn't help anything for him to suffer along with me. And I never looked a free truck in the mouth—or rather engine.

"Well, now, you're welcome," he mumbled, embarrassed by my thanks.

We exchanged a few more comments on the weather, which was wet, and that was pretty much it for conversation. We stared out the windows.

It was probably beautiful or something. Everything was green: the trees were covered in moss, both the trunks and the branches, the ground blanketed with ferns. Even the air had turned green by the time it filtered down through the leaves.

It was too green—an alien planet.

Eventually we made it to Charlie's. He still lived in the small, two-bedroom house that he'd bought with my mother in the early days of their marriage. Those were the only kind of days their marriage had—the early ones. There, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was my new—well, new to me—truck. It was a faded red color, with big, curvy fenders and a rounded cab.

And I loved it. I wasn't really a car guy, so I was kind of surprised by my own reaction. I mean, I didn't even know if it would run, but I could see myself in it. Plus, it was one of those solid iron monsters that never gets damaged—the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it had just destroyed.

"Wow, Dad, it's awesome! Thanks!" Serious enthusiasm this time. Not only was the truck strangely cool, but now I wouldn't have to walk two miles in the rain to school in the morning. Or accept a ride in the cruiser, which was obviously worst-case scenario.

"I'm glad you like it," Charlie said gruffly, embarrassed again.

It took only one trip to get all my stuff upstairs. I got the west bedroom that faced out over the front yard. The room was familiar; it had belonged to me since I was born. The wooden floor, the light blue walls, the peaked ceiling, the faded blue-and-white checked curtains around the window—these were all a part of my childhood. The only changes Charlie had ever made were switching the crib for a bed and adding a desk as I grew. The desk now held a secondhand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the floor to the nearest phone jack. This was one of my mother's requirements, so that we could stay in touch. The rocking chair from my baby days was still in the corner.

There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I would have to share with Charlie, but I'd had to share with my mom before, and that was definitely worse. She had a lot more stuff, and she doggedly resisted all my attempts to organize any of it.

One of the best things about Charlie is he doesn't hover. He left me alone to unpack and get settled, which would have been totally impossible for my mom. It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look comfortable; a relief to stare out the window at the sheeting rain and let my thoughts get dark.

Forks High School had just three hundred and fifty-seven—now fifty-eight—students; there were more than seven hundred people in my junior class alone back home. All of the kids here had grown up together—their grandparents had been toddlers together. I would be the new kid from the big city, something to stare at and whisper about.

Maybe if I had been one of the cool kids, I could make this work for me. Come in all popular, homecoming king–styles. But there was no hiding the fact that I was not that guy—not the football star, not the class president, not the bad boy on the motorcycle. I was the kid who looked like he should be good at basketball, until I started walking. The kid who got shoved into lockers until I'd suddenly shot up eight inches sophomore year. The kid who was too quiet and too pale, who didn't know anything about gaming or cars or baseball statistics or anything else I was supposed to be into.

Unlike the other guys, I didn't have a ton of free time for hobbies. I had a checkbook to balance, a clogged drain to snake, and a week's groceries to shop for.

Or I used to.

So I didn't relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn't relate well to people, period. Even my mother, who I was closest to of anyone on the planet, never really understood me. Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Like, maybe what I saw as green was what everyone else saw as red. Maybe I smelled vinegar when they smelled coconut. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain.

But the cause didn't matter. All that mattered was the effect. And tomorrow would be just the beginning.

I didn't sleep well that night, even after I finally got my head to shut up. The constant whooshing of the rain and wind across the roof wouldn't fade into the background. I pulled the old quilt over my head, and later added the pillow, too. But I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight, when the rain finally settled into a quiet drizzle.

Thick fog was all I could see out my window in the morning, and I could feel the claustrophobia creeping up on me. You could never see the sky here; it was like that prison cage I'd imagined.

Breakfast with Charlie was quiet. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was a waste of time. Good luck tended to avoid me. Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family. After he left, I sat at the old square oak table in one of the three unmatching chairs and stared at the familiar kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor. Nothing had changed. My mom had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago, trying to bring some sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace in the adjoining, microscopic family room was a row of pictures. First a wedding picture of Charlie and my mom in Las Vegas, then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse, followed by the procession of my school pictures up to this year's. Those were embarrassing to look at—the bad haircuts, the braces years, the acne that had finally cleared up. I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I was living here.

It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. It made me uncomfortable.

I didn't want to be too early to school, but I couldn't stay in the house anymore. I put on my jacket—thick, non-breathing plastic, like a biohazard suit—and headed out into the rain.

It was just drizzling still, not enough to soak me through immediately as I reached for the house key that was always hidden under the eave by the door, and locked up. The sloshing of my new waterproof boots sounded weird. I missed the normal crunch of gravel as I walked.

Inside the truck, it was nice and dry. Either Bonnie or Charlie had obviously cleaned it up, but the tan upholstered seats still smelled faintly of tobacco, gasoline, and peppermint. The engine started quickly, which was a relief, but loudly, roaring to life and then idling at top volume. Well, a truck this old was bound to have a flaw. The antique radio worked, a bonus I hadn't expected.

Finding the school wasn't difficult; like most other things, it was just off the highway. It wasn't obvious at first that it was a school; only the sign, which declared it to be the Forks High School, clued me in. It looked like a collection of matching houses, built with maroon-colored bricks. There were so many trees and shrubs I couldn't see its size at first. Where was the feel of the institution? I thought. Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?

I parked by the first building, which had a small sign over the door reading FRONT OFFICE. No one else was parked there, so I was sure it was off limits, but I decided I would get directions inside instead of circling around in the rain like an idiot.

Inside, it was brightly lit, and warmer than I'd hoped. The office was small; there was a little waiting area with padded folding chairs, orange-flecked commercial carpet, notices and awards cluttering the walls, and a big clock ticking loudly. Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there weren't enough greenery outside. The room was cut in half by a long counter, cluttered with wire baskets full of papers and brightly colored flyers taped to the front. There were three desks behind the counter; a round, balding man in glasses sat at one. He was wearing a t-shirt, which immediately made me feel overdressed for the weather.

The balding man looked up. "Can I help you?"

"I'm Beau Swan," I informed him, and saw the quick recognition in his eyes. I was expected, already the subject of gossip. The Chief's son, the one with the unstable mom, come home at last.

"Of course," he said. He dug through a leaning stack of papers on his desk till he found the ones he was looking for. "I have your schedule right here, Beaufort, and a map of the school." He brought several sheets to the counter to show me.

"Um, it's Beau, please."

"Oh, sure, Beau."

He went through my classes for me, highlighting the best route to each on the map, and gave me a slip to have each teacher sign, which I was to bring back at the end of the day. He smiled at me and hoped, like Charlie, that I would like it here in Forks. I smiled back as convincingly as I could.

When I went back out to my truck, other students were starting to arrive. I drove around the school, following the line of traffic. Most of the cars were older like mine, nothing flashy. At home, I'd lived in one of the few lower-income neighborhoods that were included in the Paradise Valley District. It was a common thing to see a new Mercedes or Porsche in the student lot. The nicest car here was a brand-new silver Volvo, and it stood out. Still, I cut the engine as soon as I was in a spot, so that the earsplitting volume wouldn't draw attention to me.

I looked at the map in the truck, trying to memorize it now; hopefully I wouldn't have to walk around with it stuck in front of my nose all day. I stuffed everything in my backpack, slung the strap over my shoulder, and sucked in a huge breath. It won't be that bad, I lied to myself. Seriously, though, this wasn't a life and death situation—it was just high school. It's not like anyone was going to bite me. I finally exhaled, and stepped out of the truck.

I pulled my hood down over my face as I walked to the sidewalk, crowded with teenagers. My plain black jacket didn't stand out, I was glad to see, though there wasn't much I could do about my height. I hunched my shoulders and kept my head down.

Once I got around the cafeteria, building three was easy to spot. A large black "3" was painted on a white square on the east corner. I followed two unisex raincoats through the door.

The classroom was small. The people in front of me stopped just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks. I copied them. They were two girls, one a porcelain-colored blonde, the other also pale, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn't be a standout here.

I took the slip up to the teacher, a narrow woman with thinning hair whose desk had a nameplate identifying her as Ms. Mason. She gawked at me when she saw my name—discouraging—and I could feel the blood rush into my face, no doubt forming unattractive splotches across my cheeks and neck. At least she sent me to an empty desk at the back without introducing me to the class. I tried to fold myself into the little desk as inconspicuously as possible.

It was harder for my new classmates to stare at me in the back, but somehow, they managed. I kept my eyes down on the reading list the teacher had given me. It was pretty basic: Brontë, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I'd already read everything. That was comforting . . . and boring. I wondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would think that was cheating. I went through different arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.

When the bell rang, a pale, skinny girl with skin problems and hair black as an oil slick leaned across the aisle to talk to me.

"You're Beaufort Swan, aren't you?" She gave off the vibe of an overly helpful, chess club type.

"Beau," I corrected. Everyone within a three-seat radius turned to look at me.

"Where's your next class?" she asked.

I had to check in my bag. "Um, Government, with Jefferson, in building six."

There was nowhere to look without meeting curious eyes.

"I'm headed toward building four, I could show you the way. . . ." Definitely over-helpful. "I'm Erica," she added.

I forced a smile. "Thanks."

We got our jackets and headed out into the rain, which had picked up. Several people seemed to be walking too close behind us—like they were trying to eavesdrop or something. I hoped I wasn't getting paranoid.

"So, this is a lot different than Phoenix, huh?" she asked.


"It doesn't rain much there, does it?"

"Three or four times a year."

"Wow, what must that be like?" she wondered.

"Sunny," I told her.

"You don't look very tan."

"My mother is part albino."

She studied my face uneasily, and I stifled a groan. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor didn't mix. A few months of this and I'd forget how to use sarcasm.

We walked back around the cafeteria, to the south buildings by the gym. Erica followed me right to the door, though it was clearly marked.

"Well, good luck," she said as I touched the handle. "Maybe we'll have some other classes together." She sounded hopeful.

I smiled at her—in what I hoped was not an encouraging way—and went inside.

The rest of the morning passed in about the same way. My Trigonometry teacher, Ms. Varner, who I would have disliked anyway just because of the subject she taught, was the only one who made me stand in front of the class and introduce myself. I stammered, went splotchy red, and tripped over my own boots on the way to my seat.

After two classes, I started to recognize some of the faces in each room. There was always someone braver than the others who would introduce themselves and ask me questions about how I was liking Forks. I tried to be diplomatic, but mostly I just lied a lot. At least I never needed the map.

In every class, the teacher started out calling me Beaufort, and though I corrected them immediately, it was depressing. It had taken me years to live down Beaufort—thank you so much, Grandpa, for dying just months before I was born and making my mom feel obligated to honor you. No one at home even remembered that Beau was just a nickname anymore. Now I had to start all over again.

One guy sat next to me in both Trig and Spanish, and he walked with me to the cafeteria for lunch. He was short, not even up to my shoulder, but his crazy curly hair made up some of the difference between our heights. I couldn't remember his name, so I smiled and nodded as he rattled on about teachers and classes. I didn't try to keep up.

We sat at the end of a full table with several of his friends, who he introduced to me—couldn't complain about the manners here. I forgot all their names as soon as he said them. They seemed to think it was cool that he'd invited me. The girl from English, Erica, waved at me from across the room, and they all laughed. Already the butt of the joke. It was probably a new record for me. But none of them seemed mean-spirited about it.

It was there, sitting in the lunchroom, trying to make conversation with seven curious strangers, that I first saw them.

They were seated in the corner of the cafeteria, as far away from where I sat as possible in the long room. There were five of them. They weren't talking, and they weren't eating, though they each had a tray of food in front of them. They weren't gawking at me, unlike most of the other students, so it was safe to stare at them. But it was none of these things that caught my attention.

They didn't look anything alike.

Best known for her Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer’s four-book collection has sold over 100 million copies globally in over 50 countries, with translations in 37 different languages. Meyer was the highest-selling author of 2008 and 2009 in the United States, having sold over 29 million books in 2008, and 26.5 million books in 2009. In 2008, Meyer also released The Host, which debuted at #1 on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Additionally, USA Today declared Meyer “Author of the Year,” citing that she had done something that no one else had in the 15 years of the USA Today bestselling book list– she swept the top four slots in 2008. Meyer also accomplished this feat in 2009, when The Twilight Saga once again dominated the top of the bestseller list. All together, her books have spent over 303 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Stephenie Meyer graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature. She lives in Arizona with her husband and sons.

To learn more about Stephenie Meyer and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Buy this book at:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank your for stopping by. Please comment! I'd love to hear from you!